Collaborative design is often billed as a tranformative technology that can overcome the traditional limitations of doing business globally. That's what my friend, the CIO of a shoe company, thought. But he hadn't yet met a person I call John Henry Hwang.
The original John Henry was a low-wage laborer who worked on railroad tunnels in the South after the Civil War. Those big strong men used pile drivers and hand drills to make holes for dynamite. According to the legend of John Henry, some clever salesperson (some say it was a manager) tried to put him out of a job by bringing in a steam-powered drill. Henry challenged the drill to a race. In the shale of those mountains, a strong man like Henry could, and did, outperform the drill, though Henry died in the attempt.
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